We have lovely neighbours, but we actually don’t know them very well, a quick wave, a shouted hello, that’s about it. We live in a cul-de-sac and we are right at the end, facing up the road, so we have adjacent neighbours, and diagonally opposite neighbours too. A couple of days ago, a charming young emissary, the son of one of the diagonals knocked on our door and from a distance asked what we thought of the idea of having a street party in our little cul-de-sac to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day – Victory in Europe Day.
As both our fathers had served during the war, mine as a paratrooper in Italy, Greece, France and North Africa, and my husband’s father was a naval officer and ended up in West Africa, it seemed a great idea for several reasons! To honour and remember our dads for the service they had given, and those other men and women who had served, and in many cases lost their lives, and also getting together – distantly with our neighbours. It also seemed that with the difficulties and troubles and dangers the whole world is facing now, as well as our small road in our small village, that it was a great idea to join together for a happy time.
Lots of places round the village had magnificent decorations on their houses, in their windows and gardens, attached to hedges, gates and fences… what did we have? Could I make a red,white and blue Union Jack thing using towels or pillowslips or tablecloths? Well, no, it just looked like the French flag – and yes, they were our allies but we live her not in France! Suddenly husband remembered he had the jack (flag) from his dad’s ship. It was somewhere in the loft and had last been out, we think, on the Queen’s jubilee. After a lot of rootling, and only a modicum of dubious language, it was found, and we managed to “fly” it – as my featured image shows.
I I made blue scones, which would be eaten with white cream and red jam, I bought (I confess) meringue cases and strawberries, and we brought our garden furniture out onto the drive – the same as all our neighbours were, calling greetings to each other. Most families were doing the same as us, but the next-door-but-one had their camper van wonderfully decorated with Union Jack bunting, the neighbour whose idea it was had a barbecue set up, our other side neighbour had a play-mat out for their little girl, there was a parasol, there were drinks and refreshments, and we settled down in the glorious sunshine to have a wonderful afternoon of getting to know each other – from a safe distance.
My husband and another neighbour from down the road who are in the ukulele band got their ukes out and their mics and gave an impromptu concert, then young people from another family got speakers out and tapped into their playlist and there was a real party atmosphere. I chatted with people I’d only waved at – all at a distance of course, and we all agreed that when “it” is over, we ought to have another party to celebrate!
My husband had mounted and framed our fathers medals some years ago and we arranged them on another couch, and they provoked a lot of interest from passers-by.